The Greatest of Feasts

Annunciation 2013

    … for nothing will be impossible for God

What is the greatest feast in the liturgical calendar? I think it’s the Annunciation, and for a simple reason. Without a doubt, what took place at the Annunciation has to be the greatest of God’s creative acts and the foundation of all his other greatest works. Certainly Christmas and Easter celebrate among the greatest works of God, and especially Easter which celebrates the beginning whole new creation which is generated by the resurrection of Christ.

But without the event that took place at the Annunciation, none of these other events would’ve taken place. For the God-man to be born, He has to first be; for the God-man to suffer and die for our sins, he has to first exist as man; for the God-man to rise from the dead … you know the rest. The event of the incarnation of God is the foundation for all these other events by which our salvation is accomplished in Christ Jesus. And it is the greatest of all divine events not only because it is the foundation of all these others, but because it is in itself the greatest possible event of all. That God should become man is the most astounding of all of God’s external actions. That the infinite and utterly transcendent Being should become a part of his own creation, should become a finite man, while remaining always God, utterly surpasses anything we can possibly understand or even imagine. Yet, this is precisely what happened at the Annunciation, as we pray in our creed, “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate to the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

Think about that truth for a moment, before it overwhelms the mind. Who is it precisely that became man? All the words that precede that single sentence identify who it is: the only begotten son of God, born of the father before all ages, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the father, through him all things were made. He it is who “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.

It truly boggles the mind and our imagination. Most of the world does not believe this, and it’s not something that’s easy to believe. The gift of faith has to struggle mightily to convince man’s mind that this can possibly take place. But then, thank God, we can recall what the Angel said to Mary, “for nothing will be impossible for God.” That Elizabeth should conceive in her old age seems impossible to man, that Mary should conceive without the cooperation of man but only by the Holy Spirit seems impossible also, and, that the Eternal Son, the second Person in the one God, should become a true man seems impossible, utterly fantastic, but the Angel absolutely insists that nothing will be impossible for God, not even that the infinite and absolute should become perfectly united to the finite, and anything but absolute, being that is man.

And yet that is what we profess today and rejoice in today. It really happened, and the mystery continues forever. God had a beginning as man, paradox of all paradoxes, but God will have no end as man, while always being God. Jesus is our very brother today and forever, and that is the most important and wonderful truth of our faith. God is with us forever and the most astounding way, as one of us, as for us, as in us. How could the Annunciation be anything less than the greatest Christian feasts?

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Categories: Homilies

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